Earlier today at Brampton Manor Academy, Stephen Timms, Member of Parliament for East Ham, waved off the cabs involved in the East London Cabbies Outing, marking the 61st anniversary of the event.
The East London Cabbies Outing was first established by Charles Albert Flemwell – later well known as a Newham Councillor – who organised for 8 taxis to take children with special needs down to Maldon in Essex for a day out. Over the years this became increasingly popular and, following Mr Flemwell’s death in 1996, his son, Ken Framwell, decided to form a committee of London taxi drivers to carry on the annual tradition.
On the day, over 60 cab drivers give up a day’s work to voluntarily take the children on this trip. The children are picked up at various points around East London by taxis that have been decorated with balloons and cartoon characters and there is a convoy that drives up to Maldon. Multiple services such as T & J’s Breakdown Service, the London Ambulance Service and Metropolitan Police motorcycles guide the convoy to ensure the full safety of the children as many suffer from severe medical conditions.
The journey includes multiple stops such as a Primary School where pupils voluntarily prepare a band for the children. The final stop is Maldon Promenade Park where there are clowns, juggling shows, cart rides, raffles and face painting to entertain the children until 6.30pm. Each child is then dropped off to their own home by the taxi. The entire scheme is funded through donations.
Speaking afterwards, Stephen said: “The Cabbies Outing scheme is an admirable tradition and I highly commend the many volunteers who partake in it. The support that it offers children with special needs is outstanding and the joy it brings them is a worthwhile contribution to society. I am very proud to be a part of the event in its 60th year and I hope to see it run for many years ahead.”